Despite May frost, NY grape crop may be ample

William M. Dowd photo

Bad weather, including a May frost that whacked the Concord grapes in the Lake Erie region, didn't stop New York from producing what looks to be a bumper crop this year. The question will be, what is the quality of the grapes?

However, much of that is up to what the winemakers do with the fruit. At the moment, assessments are being made on the tonnage of grapes and what to do with them.

"It looks like it’s going to be mixed in terms of quantity," says Jim Trezise, president of the New York State Wine & Grape Foundation (NYSWGF).

"While wine grapes look so plentiful that a surplus is expected and new markets are being sought, the Western New York Concord crop loss is so severe that Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer have asked Gov. David Paterson to request federal disaster relief from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. However, wine grapes are grown primarily in other regions and suffered virtually no damage, with the vines progressing normally and a potentially large crop."

The NYSWGF is partnering with Cornell Cooperative Extension on a system to attract wineries from other states that may be interested in purchasing New York grapes. The core of the program is a "matchmaker" Web site showing grapes, or juice, or bulk wine for sale, or wanted. Neither NYWGF nor CCE are involved in any transactions.

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